Rotterdam powerlifter Vinnie Vardine has his sights on more bench press records after setting several of them in the past two months in the men’s raw 65-69 age division.
In April, the 65-year-old Vardine set national and world age-group records in the 308-pound class with a bench press of 340. In May, he established national and world age-group records in the 308-plus class, or super heavyweight class, with a bench press of 345.
His records are recognized by the American Powerlifting Association and the World Powerlifting Association.
Vardine’s most recent performances are part of a powerlifting comeback tour of sorts for the former wrestler, football player and shot put/discus star, who, following a long hiatus and shoulder surgery in November of 2016, began moving the weights again.
“I want to show seniors that you can achieve things,” Vardine said. “I want to give them hope.”
Vardine said his next goal is pursuit of the 275-pound 65-69 division United States (345) and world (330.5) raw bench press records on Aug. 28 at the Northeastern States Championships in New Hampshire.
“I want to do it,” said Vardine, who competes drug tested. “I’ve got it in two, and I want to do it in three.”
In April at the APA Nationals, which was held at several locations, Vardine was in a Connecticut gym weighing in at 305.5 pounds when he had successful bench press results at 315, 325 and 335 pounds before his 340.
Vardine also set a world record that day for his division in the push-pull with a 700-pound performance (340 bench press, 360 deadlift), though he hyperextended his right knee in the process.
He was still recovering from that in May at the APA Twin State Championships in New Hampshire, where he came in at 312.5 pounds and had successful bench press results of 315, 325 and 340 before his 345.
“I’ve been on a pretty good roll lately,” Vardine said of the Twin State event. “I can’t believe I had such a great day.”
Vardine said following his shoulder surgery, he had bench press results of 300 pounds in 2017, 315 pounds in 2018 and 360 in 2019 and set several New York records along the way before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of competitions in 2020.
“On my way back, I wanted to take my time,” Vardine said. “I wanted to build my way back up.”
Just before stepping away from the sport in 2007 at the age of 52, Vardine joined a select group of 50-plus lifters to bench press 500 pounds raw when he hoisted that amount as a super heavyweight at the APA Northeast Open in Vermont. En route to that longtime goal, he had lifts of 455, 475 and 485 pounds that day.
He said his personal best was a bench press of 575 pounds in 1994.
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